Every Vase has a Place:
RAF Knoxville and Knox Area Rescue Ministries
Every vase has a story. Perhaps, it starts at a florist shop or a gift store or even some warehouse online; but, ideally, that vase finds itself full of flowers and in the home of a grateful recipient. But, after the bouquet’s life ends, what happens to the vase that held them? Maybe it gets stashed under the kitchen sink or in the garage or forgotten in that weird cabinet space above the refrigerator.
At RAF Knoxville, we receive more than 2,000 vases a month from individuals who know that those objects’ stories aren’t finished yet, that they have more to give.
The majority of the vases we receive are re-purposed as part of our mission of delivering hope – refilled with flowers and taken to hospitals and assisted living facilities throughout East Tennessee.
However, some can’t be used for this purpose (usually due to height) and so their journey takes them just a little bit further – to the Knox Area Rescue Ministries (KARM) stores.
KARM’s Evan Crass describes the symbiosis between our two organizations as unique because “RAF turns something that would otherwise be garbage in a landfill into a gift, and – if they can’t use something they receive, they pay it forward to another organization. For us, it’s vases, and – at our stores – those vases get sold to support our mission of providing meals.”
At KARM stores, every $2 spent becomes a meal for an individual facing housing and food scarcity issues in our community. Each month, RAF donates approximately 300 vases to KARM stores, which become dozens of meals for the people that they serve.
And, who knows, one of those vases may start its story all over again once it leave KARM. It could be given – full of flowers – to someone who will donate it back to RAF, and we will donate it to KARM and back again – providing joy, hope, and sustenance to our friends and neighbors.
If you are interested in donating vases at any of our branches, please visit https://raftampabay.org/donate-vases.